H&M profits, costs up in first quarter as clothing retailer expands online stores

STOCKHOLM – Swedish fashion retailer Hennes & Mauritz AB says its first-quarter profits rose by 8 per cent, even though technology investments linked to online sales wiped out some of the gains.

Net profit in the December-February period was 2.65 billion kronor (412 million), up from 2.46 billion kronor a year earlier.

Sales rose 13 per cent to 32.1 billion kronor as H&M added 60 new stores worldwide, bringing the total to just below 3,200.

Costs also rose, by 13 per cent, as H&M boosted spending on its online sales system. The company opened an online store in France on March 13, and plans to do the same in Spain, Italy and China later this year.

The share price dropped more than 3 per cent to 279.50 kronor ($43.47) in early trading in Stockholm.